Monday, December 28, 2009

Baking Again

I know it comes as a shock since I am always bemoaning how much time and measuring it takes to bake. And usually I am a huge failure in this arena. For some reason, most of my adventures in baking have ended badly. However, this December I am 2 for 2! My previous post about cookies was a hit and now I have made bread. This is the second time I have ever even attempted making bread in my entire life, and of course it is another quick bread. No time for yeast and rising and all that for this girl. When I want something, I don't want to wait forever!

This is another recipe I bookmarked a really long time ago and I recently came across it again when looking for a bread recipe to make for one of my family Christmas gatherings. The need was born of necessity since I forgot to get dinner rolls at the store. I am not even a big bread eater, but I do love any kind of garlic cheese bread.

This bread was dense, cheesy and garlicy with a nice crunchy outside. Yum! Everyone loved it and I will definitely make it again. This loaf served 9.

Find the original recipe here. The only changes I made were adding a tbsp of garlic powder and not using the dill. I think the dill would be awesome, but it called for fresh dill and I just didn't think the dried stuff would taste as good.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Best Christmas Cookies Ever!!

I am a bit ridiculous when it comes to cookies. I don't like "brown" cookies. I like them white and soft. For this reason, I don't eat them very often. Which is not really such a bad thing. You know, when you consider the whole trying to lose weight thing.

But alas, it is Christmas time which definitely calls for cookie baking. I had bookmarked this cookie recipe ages ago and came across it again recently. These cookies looked so cute and fun. They would be great to do with kids, but not my kid. At only 18 months, he was a little less than enthused. When I told him we were going to make cookies, he did not understand why we could not eat them right then. There was a lot of waiting involved, which he is not so great at. I did give him some cookie dough while we waited for them to cook. Yes, I gave my child cookie dough with raw eggs in it. Trust me, I am sure it is not the worst thing he has eaten.

I am not even going to try and do this recipe justice. Click here to see the original post from Pioneer Woman. She is awesome. And so are these cookies!

Monday, December 14, 2009

A Healthy Twist

I am mildly obsessed with The Biggest Loser tv show, and now I have the wii game which is one of the hardest work outs I've ever done! On the game, they even have a section of recipes and healthy living tips from the trainers and past contestants. One tip is to take a recipe you love and find a way to make it better for you. I recently did this with my hamburger hash. Click here to get the original version. In this twist, I used ground turkey instead of ground beef and substituted black beans for the potatoes. I would love to tell you that I calculated just how much fat and calories you saved, plus you added fiber by adding the beans, but I can't. I just didn't have time. I was too hungry. Ha!

It turned out awesome though! And, I didn't even miss the ground beef or potatoes. The ground turkey tasted almost the same. I just bumped up the seasonings a little more. And I love black beans, so that was an easy swap. Logan also loves beans or peas of any kind, so he was all over this dinner. Plus, this fed all 3 of us for dinner, plus it fed Logan and I for lunch for 2 or 3 more days!! It re-heats perfectly.

Ground Turkey Hash
Source: Me

1.25 lbs ground turkey (Make sure they didn't grind the skin up too. Jenni O makes a great one!)
1.5 tbsp chili powder
1.5 tbsp paprika
.5 tbsp cumin
1/2 onion, minced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 can corn
1 can black beans
1 can stewed tomatoes

Brown turkey over medium high heat. Once almost cooked through, add spices and garlic/onion. Cook a few more minutes, then add corn, black beans and tomatoes. Stir and turn heat down to low. Let simmer about 15-20 minutes, stirring occasionally and breaking up the tomatoes. The longer it simmers, the better it tastes!!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

This Breakfast Should Be Illegal!

I'm not really even sure it counts as a true breakfast item except for the fact that we ate it in the morning and used the word pancake. ;) I have mentioned before that I love the store Aldi. You can really get a lot for your money there without worrying about coupons or anything. Right now they have a seasonal item called Pumpkin Quick Bread or Muffin Mix. Props to my sister for turning me onto to this yumminess! In our house, we tend to use muffin mix to make pancakes because it is so much quicker. Breakfast time needs to be quick and easy when you have a toddler.

This is probably the best and easiest breakfast trick in my arsenal. Open a bag of any kind of muffin mix, add milk until it is a pancake batter consistency (usually about 1/2 a cup depending on the size of the package, but I honestly don't measure it.)

That is exactly what I did this morning, and then I made it even better. I made a cream cheese topping to play on the idea of adding syrup. It was just a basic cream cheese icing thinned out a little. Cream cheese, powdered sugar and milk. I am really not a measurer. I just go by consistency.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Fall is Calling My Name!

Here in Alabama our seasons tend to turn on us quickly. We went from 80 degree weather to 50 degree weather last weekend. It was COLD! And it did NOT feel like fall. However, this week has been great fall weather, low 70's/high 60's. We have had a great time playing outside.

Last night, we finally carved our pumpkin. This year Taylor carved a pumpkin fit for our toddler...Tigger!

I saved the seeds and roasted them in the oven with a little olive oil, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika and salt. What a great fall snack! So, if you haven't carved your pumpkin yet, save those seeds and roast away. :)

It's That Time of Year Again!

And by that time, I mean hunting season. The husband is determined he will get a buck this year, so with a promise of more venison to fill my freezer I need to clean out what I have left. At the end of the season earlier in 2009, my father-in-law gave us a good bit of venison. We haven't eaten much, just every now and then, because it requires at least an couple of hours marinating to taste really good to me. And I don't always prep for dinner that early.

The good news is that venison is a very lean meat, and works great for my new weight loss plan! We had some tenderloin medallions and I decided to do them in a Korean BBQ style. They were SO good! Best way I've had venison yet!

I also tried a weight watchers recipe for mashed cauliflower and potatoes. These were pretty good, and a lot less points than traditional mashed potatoes. And Taylor even liked them. He ate seconds!!

Venison, Korean BBQ Style

Source: Me
Serves: 3-4 people
4 WW points per serving

1 tbsp toasted sesame oil
4 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
3 green onions, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
10-12, 1 oz. venison tenderloin medallions

Mix all ingredients except medallions. Reserve 1/2 cup marinade. Add medallions to the rest of the marinade. Refrigerate for at least 3 hours.

Grill medalions until medium/medium-well. Pour reserved marinade over medallions once they are on the serving dish.

Mashed "Potatoes"

Source: Weight Watchers
Serves: 4
2 WW points per serving

8 oz. cauliflower florets
3 small yukon gold potatoes
2 medium garlic cloves, peeled
1 tsp salt, divided
1/4 cup 1% milk (I used skim because that's what we have)
2 tsp butter
1/8 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp chives, freshly snipped (I omited because I didn't have)

Place cauliflower, potatoes, garlic and 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a medium saucepan. Add enough water to cover ingredients and bring to a boil. Boil until vegetables are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes; drain and return to saucepan.Stir in milk, butter, remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and pepper; mash with a potato masher until smooth. Stir in chives and serve. Yields about 1/2 cup per serving.

This whole plate? 6 Points!!!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Skinny Chili

Ok, so last week I started doing weight watchers points. I only have 24 daily points and by dinner those points are usually few and far between. I do have 35 extra weekly points I can use to splurge, but I really want to save those up for something good.

Thursday night I tried a weight watcher's recipe for chili. It is only 2 points per serving!!! Taylor and I both loved it. And one serving really filled me up. Taylor went back for seconds. ;) I added some fresh cayenne pepper to mine. I really like to use them when they are green because the skin hasn't gotten as tough and they are still pretty hot!

Skinny Chili (This is my name for the dish, not the original author's.)
Source: Judy Scuderi, find it here
Serves: 6

1 lb. lean ground beef (10% or less)

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 tbsp. chili powder

1 tsp. ground cumin

1 can (28 oz.) crushed tomatoes

1 can (15 oz.) red kidney beans, rinsed and drained

1 sweet onion, chopped

1/4 cup canned diced chilies

2 tbsp. tomato paste


1. In a large nonstick skillet brown beef and garlic over medium heat, stirring occasionally to break up meat. Drain excess fat. Add chili powder and cumin and stir to combine.

2. Combine tomatoes, beans, onion, chilies, and tomato paste in crockpot. Stir in beef mixture. Cover and cook on High until flavors are blended, 4 - 5 hours.

I added a little dried oregano and basil, salt and pepper to the crock pot for some extra seasoning.

Trying Something New

I am on a mission to lose weight. I can't even really call it baby weight since about a week after Logan was born, I technically weighed the same as before I was pregnant. I even lost some weight after that and started to move in the right direction. Then all three of us got the flu, I quit exercising and things just went down hill from there. My goal is to lose 20 lbs.

I have started using the elliptical machine that has been just a room decoration up until now. And I am going to try the weight watchers point system to help me stay on track. I would really like to lose the weight by Christmas. We'll see how it goes.

I found this great food blog all about weight watchers. She has already figured out the points for each meal, making it really easy! I have added her to my blog list on the left. Here is the first recipe I tried: Asian Grilled Chicken.

Please forgive the picture. My camera battery was dead, so I had to use my cell phone. It was really good. Our whole family liked it, and one 3 oz. serving is only 3 points! Find the recipe here.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Comfort Food

I have some friends who are all about crock pot cooking. I have a great crock pot that we received for our wedding and I've used it a few times, but I've never been overjoyed with the results. Don't get me wrong, the food was ok, just not my style. Taylor usually really likes it. I think the only thing I've actually ever made in it is pot roast, which isn't my favorite any way, so that might be why I haven't been pleased with the resulting flavors.

Well, today I have a new crock pot recipe for you, and it is really good! My mother-in-law recently asked me if I knew how to make chicken and dumplings. She said she's never mastered making good dumplings and I told her I would look into it. This Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings is SO good and super easy. I read a bunch of different crock pot recipes and most of them called for using canned biscuits for the dumplings. Usually I'm not above taking that short cut, but I really wanted to make my own dumplings this time. I did take the short cut of using baking mix instead of completely from scratch because I already had some on hand. I think next time I'll try canned biscuits. Haha! My baking mix dumplings were like drop biscuits on the top of my chicken and they just turned into huge 1/2 wet 1/2 dry dumplings. Don't get me wrong, they were good, but not really what I was looking for. The chicken turned out great! Great flavor and Logan loved it! He did not like the dumplings. Ha!

I really just came up with my own recipe and I'll definitely be doing this again. I did add some peas and carrots to Logan's bowl so he could get some extra veggies. He loves peas and carrots! I on the other hand, do not. Taylor had the choice to add some to his and he passed too. At least we try to make sure our son gets some healthy food. ;)

Crock Pot Chicken and Dumplings
Source: Me

Add to the crock pot:
3 frozen chicken breasts
1 tbsp each: onion powder, garlic powder and dried basil
1 tsp each: salt and pepper
Chicken Stock, enough to completely cover the breasts. I used about half a box of stock.

Set crock pot on low for 5-6 hours. You can tell when they are ready because the chicken just falls apart when you try to pick it up.

Remove chicken breasts and shred the meat.

Dissolve 1 tbsp cornstarch into 1 tbsp cold water, then add to the stock in the crock pot. Mix well, then add back in the chicken. (This thickens the stock and makes it creamy. If you prefer a thinner stock, skip this step)

Turn crock pot to high.

In a mixing bowl combine 1 1/2 cups baking mix and 1/2 cup milk. Don't over mix, just stir until combined. Once the crock pot mixture is bubbling, drop in spoonfulls of the dumpling mixture.

Cover and cook on high until the dumplings are cooked through.

I chopped some fresh cilantro and sprinkled it over the top of my bowl. It added great flavor and some color to the dish! (We never have fresh parsley on hand but we do usually have fresh cilantro. It's our herb of choice around here.)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sweet, Satisfying & Slimming!

Those aren't 3 words I can usually use together. I have had a sweet tooth ever since my pregnancy and it just won't go away. I still love spicy, savory food, but I now feel like I have to end every meal with something sweet. This NEVER used to happen to me! This is probably why I can't seem to get rid of this extra weight that keeps hanging around.

This recipe gives me the sweetness I crave with hardly any calories compared to the regular dessert! And which dessert would this be, you ask? Banana Pudding! I love it. And I don't want the traditional kind with meringue. I want cool whip on top. Yum...ok enough of that. This is a great alternative to banana pudding. Banana Pudding has about 466 calories in 1/2 a cup. WOW! This Banana Pudding Smoothie has about 180 calories!!!

I got the idea from Rachael Ray. She gave a quick tip on her show about using frozen bananas and whole milk in the food processor to make a quick alternative to banana ice cream. I decided to take it a step further and made it a smoothie, banana pudding style. And let me tell you, it was awesome! Logan loved it too. We've been having these about once a day lately. :)

Banana Pudding Smoothie
Inspired by Racheal Ray

1 medium banana, sliced and frozen
1/4 cup whole milk
2 vanilla wafers

Throw the banana slices and milk in the blender. Crumble in the vanilla wafers. Pulse the blender until it is all nice and smooth. You can also top it with an extra vanilla wafer for a garnish. Just for fun. ;)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Mexican Chorizo Pasta

Saving money is a big deal for our family right now. I guess it is for most people. I used to be obsessed with coupons and playing the grocery game, but found out I was spending more money getting the grocery game's list than I was saving if I didn't religiously get online Sunday nights and make my list for Monday. That worked fine for several months, but then sometimes Monday's just weren't the best for me to go to the store. And sometimes we forgot to stop and get a paper. Plus, her list isn't up until Sunday afternoon and you can only use that list for Monday and Tuesday. I also just don't have the stamina to go to 3 or 4 different stores to get the most savings with a one year old in tow. Don't get me wrong. Her list is awesome and I know it takes a lot of work. I just can't afford to pay for a list and pay for a paper to get coupons and then not have the time to use it effectively.

We still try to get a paper when we remember, and I go ahead and cut out the coupons we might possibly use and file them. I then use free websites to look up sales or I just look at the store circulars myself. I've also been going to Aldi a lot. I've really come to love it. If you can get over the fact that they rarely have anything name brand, unless it is a special buy for the week, you will love it too. Now, there are some things on which I will not compromise, chips for one. I only like Doritos; no off brands please! And my husband will only eat Blue Plate mayonnaise on his sandwiches. I can use an off brand mayo as an ingredient in a dish, but not just on a sandwich. Other than that, we can't tell a big enough difference in the off brand items.

Aldi also has fun and different things in their meat and cheese case. Last week I got some crumbled goat cheese with basil and onions and some crumbled feta that is awesome! I also got some Mexican chorizo which will show up into todays post. I realize you can pay a lot for specialty meats and cheeses, and I'm sure there is some truth in you get what you pay for. But if my option is to not have it at all or get it cheaper, I'll take cheaper.

I used this recipe for something new and different to do with chorizo. It turned out pretty good. I did use white beans instead of chick peas. And I loved the toasted garlic breadcrumbs on top!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Risotto Fake Out

I love risotto! It is so creamy, so cheesy and so decadent. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. However, having a little monkey running around means I do not have 45 minutes to stand at the stove and stir rice. It's just not happening.

I have seen Rachael Ray make her broken spaghetti risotto a million times and thought about making it, but just never got around to it. I finally decided to try it for myself last week and it was a hit with the family. The husband and little monkey-boy loved it! And it is SO much faster than regular risotto.

You pretty much use the same method as the real thing, but you use broken spaghetti pieces instead of rice. This has become my go-to quick meal. You can add pretty much any meat to it and it's dinner!

We were in such a hurry to eat that I only took a picture of it in the pot. No time for plating and pictures this time. ;)

Click here for Rachael's recipe.

Friday, August 28, 2009

A Twist on the Originals

I got this idea when reading about chicken parm burgers on A Taste of Home Cooking. They looked mouthwatering. But, I didn't have ground chicken. I did, however, have some more ground beef in the freezer. I got to thinking about other Italian specialties and I thought of meatballs. I love them, but the hubby can do without them. As I've mentioned before, he prefers meat sauce on his pasta instead of meatballs with sauce. But I really wanted to try making meatballs into a burger, topping with marinara sauce and cheese and see what he thought. If nothing else, it would be something completely different from the every day burger and fries.

It more than met my expectations! T even liked it and went back for seconds.

Meatball Burgers
Source: Me, but I used this recipe as a jumping off point

1 lb. ground beef
1 c. Italian style breadcrumbs
1 egg
1 clove garlic, pressed
1/2 c. asiago cheese
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper

Mix all ingredients and form into burgers. Place in the fridge for about 20 minutes to firm up. Grill until done to your preference. ;) Top with marinara sauce and shredded mozzarella cheese. Toast some buns on the grill right before you take the burgers off and brush with garlic butter.

*Here's a tip about grilling the burgers: Don't flip them until they form a good crust. Otherwise they fall apart kind of easy.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Easiest Potatoes. Ever.

No muss. No fuss. No real clean up!

Dice your potatoes. Dice some bell pepper. Sprinkle with grill seasoning. Dot with butter. Wrap in foil. Throw on the grill. 25 minutes later: perfect potatoes!!!

Everything on the foil, ready to go on the grill:

Off the grill. Look at all that steaming goodness!

These were honestly some of the best potatoes I've ever had! I will be doing this a lot from now on!

Our potatoes were served with a garlic and peppercorn pork tenderloin from Smithfield (I think) that I grilled along with the potato packet:

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Chili-Wannabe

You know those nights you look in the freezer and pantry and try to come up with something new and different? This was one of those nights. :)

It's kind of a beef, bean & salsa casserole. T said this reminded him of chili. I guess it isn't that much different, just not the typical way I make it; you know tomato sauce and the like.

It turned out really well. I even ate the leftovers which is a big deal if you know me. I'm just not a fan of eating the same thing over and over. I also got the chance to use some of my yummy jalapeno peppers as a topping. I try not to mix the hot peppers into whatever we are eating since I'm afraid it might not sit well on a one year old's tummy. These look red and green because I left them on the vine a little long and they started turning red. They were plenty hot though!!

Salsa Chili Casserole
Source: Me

1 lb. ground beef
1 19 oz. can cannellini beans, drained
1 10 oz. box frozen corn in butter sauce
1 c. salsa (click here for my recipe)
1 c. shredded cheese blend
1 tsp. salt
1 tbsp. paprika
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/2 tbsp. cumin
1/2 tbsp. ground mustard

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown ground beef and drain. Add back to the pan and add beans, corn and spices. Make sure the spices are combined, then add salsa. Dump everything into a casserole dish and cover with cheese. Bake until cheese is melted; about 7 minutes.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Some Like It Hot!

I love hot peppers, but I don't discriminate. I also like mild ones like the good old bell's. Here are
some of the peppers my garden produced this year; cayenne, jalapeno and bell.

Quick Appetizer

You know those nights when you get home from being gone all day and the last thing you want to do is fix dinner? Last night was one of those nights for me. I didn't even want to think about what we were going to have, much less fix a full on dinner. Thankfully, my husband doesn't mind eating light and since Logan still eats toddler pre-packaged foods sometimes, it's no big deal. So, last night we had a light dinner of these quick and easy appetizers. Logan actually LOVED them!

Parmesan Basil Pinwheels
Source: I've seen these numerous places, but can't remember a specific person to credit.

2 cans crescent rolls
1 8 oz. block cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 clove garlic, grated
1/2 tbsp. dried basil
pinch of salt

Unroll each can of crescent rolls and pinch the seams together. Mix the rest of the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Spread mixture on crescent rolls and roll into a large log. Cut into 1 - 1 1/2 inch pieces. Bake according the crescent roll package.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Potato Shrimp Cakes with Spicy Sriracha Aioli

Let me tell you, there isn't much on TV these days if you haven't noticed. Therefore, I watch a lot of the Food Network. Today I was watching "Guy's Big Bite" which is not one of my favorites, but like I said, there was nothing on TV. I only continued watching because he was making sweet potato shrimp cakes. I hate sweet potatoes, but I figured there was no reason I couldn't watch and then just use regular, yummy, white potatoes. I liked his recipe ok, but decided to search the web for bloggers who had posted about similar recipes and how they turned out. You really can't base a recipe on a food network chef. I mean, they cook for a living. I want to know how regular people's dishes turn out.
I found a great recipe to use as inspiration and then took one great idea from Guy: marinating the shrimp before adding them to the cake mixture. Below is my recipe:

Potato Shrimp Cakes
Source: Me, with inspiration from Heart and Hearth

2 cups shrimp, raw and chopped
3/4 cup soy sauce
1 tbsp. worchestire sauce
1/2 tbsp. honey
1 tsp. toasted sesame oil
3 medium potatoes, peeled, cooked and mashed
2 medium glaric cloves, pressed
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. jalepeno, seeded and finely diced
1/2 cup bread crumbs
2 tbsp. cilantro, minced

Mix soy sauce, worchestire, honey, sesame oil and shrimp. Let sit while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

After prepping all other ingredients, mix together. Drain shrimp from marinade and add the shrimp to the rest of the ingredients. Create flat patties and pan fry in vegetable oil.

Spicy Sriracha Aioli
Source: Me

1/4 cup mayonaise
1 tbsp sriracha hot chili sauce
1 tsp lime juice

Whisk together all ingredients.

If you aren't familiar with Sriracha Hot Chili Sauce this is what it looks like and it can be found even at your local Walmart. Even in Alabama. ;)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Oh My Neme Neme

If you have a child, or maybe if you just like cartoons, you may have see Phineas and Ferb.
Here's a picture if you need a visual:
We love it at our house. Logan likes it and they make up the funniest songs. One of which is "My Neme, Neme," a song about the evil guy's nemesis. I wish I knew the name of the tune so you could sing it in your head like I am now. Oh well. If you are completely lost now, don't worry. I'm about to bring it all full circle. ;)

I started thinking of that song because I am posting about my recent nemesis in the kitchen: caramelized onions. I don't know why I am obsessed with making them, but I just can't seem to get it right. No matter how "low and slow" I cook them, they still get crispy!! And they are supposed to be soft, and brown and sweet.

Here is a breakdown of what happens when I attempt them:

Onions in the pan with olive oil over medium heat.

After 5 minutes, still looking good.

After 5 more minutes, starting to get brown. Turned the heat down to medium low.

After 20 minutes total they are brown and crispy, not brown and soft.
They still tasted good, but just not what I was going for. I would love any suggestions!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dinner By Accident

One of Logan's favorite past times these days is to open all the drawers in the kitchen and pull out all my recipes and cook books. While cleaning up his mess for the 3rd time yesterday, I came across a Rachael Ray cookbook with tabs for recipes I wanted to try. Of course I had never gotten around to any of them, so I decided I would make one for dinner. One look at the pasta carbonara and I was sold. I've made it once before using Tyler Florence's recipe and it was ok, but I wanted to try it again with a different recipe.

As for the protein part of the meal, chicken won the toss up and I decided to blacken it with a blackening recipe I recently saw on my friend Dela's website. She used it on fish, as was my initial plan, but I figured it would be good on chicken too. It was FANTASTIC! Thank you Dela! I will be using this any time blackening is required from now on. It was a little spicy for Logan, so he had some smoked sausage I threw on the grill with the chicken.

Blackened Chicken Carbonara:

Pasta Carbonara

Source: Rachael Ray, my changes/additions in italics

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1 pound pasta, such as spaghetti or rigatoni
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan)
1/4 pound pancetta (Italian bacon), chopped (I used regular bacon)
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
5 to 6 cloves garlic, chopped (I found I was out [gasp!] and so I minced some onion and used it instead)
1/2 cup dry white wine (I used water because I was even out of chicken stock which is my usual substitute for wine)
2 large egg yolks
Freshly grated Romano cheese
Handful of finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, for garnish (Omitted)

1. Put a large saucepot of water on to boil. Add a liberal amount of salt and the pasta. Cook to al dente, about 8 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the olive oil and pancetta. Brown pancetta 2 minutes. Add red pepper flakes and garlic and cook 2 to 3 minutes more. Add wine and stir up all the pan drippings.

3. In a separate bowl, beat yolks, then add 1 large ladleful (about 1/2 cup) of the pasta cooking water. This tempers the eggs and keeps them from scrambling when added to the pasta.

4. Drain pasta well and add it directly to the skillet with pancetta and oil. Pour the egg mixture over the pasta. Toss rapidly to coat the pasta without cooking the egg. Remove pan from heat and add a big handful of cheese, lots of pepper, and a little salt. Continue to toss and turn the pasta until it soaks up egg mixture and thickens, 1 to 2 minutes. Garnish with parsley and extra grated Romano.

Blackening Recipe
Soure: Dela from Not Your Mama's Southern Cooking

2 teaspoons ground paprika
4 teaspoons dried leaf thyme (I used basil because I was out of thyme and I love basil!)
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper, or to your taste
1 teaspoon dried leaf oregano
3/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg (I omitted because I didn't have any)

I actually doubled this and had plenty left over to use later!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Blueberries Again!

My little chef in training!

Here's some breaking news for most of you. This is actually the first internet announcement. You are getting the info before Facebook or my mommy blog. We are putting our house on the market in the next few weeks. I will probably go into more detail regarding the reasons on my other blog, but suffice it to say we have simply decided to downsize.
Therefore, I am cleaning out the freezer, slowly but surely; hence blueberries again. We only had a few left so I decided to use them up by making a blueberry cobbler. I used the same recipe as the southern apple cobbler I previously posted, but substituted blueberries and omitted the cinnamon and brown sugar. It was delicious! I love the thick crust on this cobbler! I encourage you to try this recipe with your favorite fruit!


Thursday, July 30, 2009

I Want To Stir!!!

This is what I hear a lot when cooking with my nephew. He is almost 3 and a great helper in the kitchen. He loves to cook! He has been staying with me and Logan this week during the day while my sister works. Logan has loved having someone to play with and he crawls after Grayson like a little puppy dog!

Today, Grayson and I made blueberry muffins. I had some blueberries in the freezer and was just craving some homemade muffins, but realized I didn't have eggs. My heart was already set and since I had already told Grayson we would make them, there was no going back! Thankfully, I found this recipe for egg-less muffins!!

Honestly, they were not as good as the blueberry muffins I made in this post. These got a little too brown around the edge before the middle cooked and I just liked the flavor of the other better. Of course they called for a lot more ingredients that I don't usually keep on hand. However, Grayson said, "they are very good for my tummy!" So at least they were a hit for him.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Just Needed A Little Inspiration

Hi! Remember me? It has been quite a while since I've made the time to sit down and blog. Even my mommy blog has been completely ignored for months. Of course I have been cooking, since my family has to eat, and I've even tried taking a few pictures, but over all nothing has really inspired me to blog.

Well that is no longer the case. I went out with the girl's last night and had some AWESOME coffee ice cream with oreo pieces mixed in from Coldstone! I have not quit thinking about how perfect it was. I even went on a quest today for a simple coffee ice cream recipe and came across this blog. It was like destiny because it only called for 3 ingredients and I had them all (pretty much).

Thankfully I have the wonderful Cuisinart Ice Cream Maker that is so simple I can do it while corraling a one year old. And Yes, my baby turned one last weekend. Another reason I've had no time to post. Baby plus building a business doesn't leave much time for blog writing or blog stalking. To those of you I used to regularly stalk...I've missed reading about your adventures!

And here is the awesome coffee icecream recipe with my additions in italics:

Homemade Coffee Ice Cream
Source: Eat At Home , Italic additions by me

1 can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups half and half (I only had whole milk for Logan, so I used whole milk)
4 tbsp brewed coffee, strong
1/3 package of oreo's crushed

Pour everything except the oreos in the ice cream maker and let it do it's thing until it is almost done. Add the oreo's at the last minute and let them combine. YUM!!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

I'm a Featured Blogger!

See my badge to the left! Sophia of The Back Burner, the companion blog to Key Ingredient, blogged about my shrimp skewers. Click here to read her post and here to read the original.

Sorry it's been a while since I've posted. I've actually made some great dishes recently, but time has gotten away from me. Some things have changed in my world and the time it takes to upload pictures and write a blog has been put on the back burner for a while. Hopefully I'll be back soon. It is spring after all and summer is on the way, which means my grill is primed and ready. You know how much I love to grill! Check back soon for a new recipe. In the meantime, check out The Back Burner. It's great!!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Go Fish!

I love fish, and pretty much all seafood. But my husband is allergic to a lot of it, so we don't eat it very often. Other than shrimp and crab. He can eat shellfish...odd, I know. Anyway, since he has been working out of town this week, I've been eating a lot of fish. It is good for you and most importantly, it tastes great!

This was actually my first time to have grouper. My favorite fish is mahi mahi, but it is kind of expensive. I also like tilapia, but this time grouper was cheaper so I went for it. I LOVE it! I think it ranks above tilapia in my book.

Also, this recipe only has about 350 calories and it is VERY filling!

Italian Baked Grouper with Brown Rice
Source: Me

1 4 oz. grouper filet
cooking spray
2 tbsp Wishbone Light Italian Dressing
1 pepperoncini, minced
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper, to taste
2 tsp grated parmesan cheese
1 cup cooked whole wheat brown rice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 large clove garlic, minced
1 shallot, minced
1/4 cup bell pepper, minced (mine was orange, but I don't think the color matters)

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Place grouper in a baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Pour dressing over the fish. Top with pepperoncini, red pepper flakes, garlic powder, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Bake for 10-15 minutes until fish flakes easily with a fork.

While the fish is baking, heat a saute pan over medium heat and add the oil, garlic, shallots, and bell pepper. Saute until tender. Add rice and cook an additional 5 minutes or until heated through.

Plate rice and place fish on top.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Pop Goes The Weasel

This song goes round and round in my head whenever the word pop (or the likenesses there of) is involved in any sentence. Maybe it is because I have a 7 month old. Maybe not. ;) Anyway, no weasels were harmed in the preparation of this recipe. Deer however, were not so lucky.

My freezer is full of venison again. Not because my husband went hunting, but because my father-in-law gave us some of his. I've put off cooking it because it isn't my favorite meat, but my husband really likes it. Therefore I went in search of something new and different. I found Deer Poppers! Everyone raved about them (except some guy who was offended that the marinade overshadowed the natural taste of the venison). I really liked them. I do tend to have problems with foods wrapped in bacon though. The bacon just never gets crispy enough for me. In my opinion, bacon should never be chewy. Other than that, they had great flavor and were nice little bites to "pop" in your mouth. The husband LOVED them, and so did his friends. (He took the leftovers with him when they went camping)

I followed the recipe exactly and it can be found here. I did not have toothpicks though, so I had a little trouble with some of them coming apart.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mama Mia!

I wish I knew some Italian because these little pizzas are amazing!! I love pizza, but don't have it near as often since I've had a baby. We don't like to spend the money on delivery, and even the frozen pizzas (the good ones) are expensive! Before Logan was born, we made homemade pizza a lot. It was easy, inexpensive, and most of all...good!

I was watching a recorded episode of Rachel Ray and she made mini deep dish pizzas. They looked so good and easy I decided I had to make them for dinner. I changed them up a little and made them cheeseburger pizzas. They were so good and the great thing is, you can eat three and it is only the equivalent of 1 biscuit! I do have some hints to make them easier for you, so before you make them be sure to read all the way to the end of the recipe.

Bacon Cheeseburger Mini Deep Dish Pizzas
Source: Inspired by Rachel Ray, my additions are in italics

1 can refrigerated biscuits
1/2 lb. ground beef
6 pieces bacon, cooked and crumbled
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 tbsp worcestershire sauce
tomato sauce
parmesan cheese
mozzarella cheese

Cut each biscuit into thirds and press into rounds. Press each round into a cup of a muffin tin that has been sprayed with cooking spray. Cook according to the package's directions. Brown ground beef, drain fat, add onion and cook until tender. Add garlic and worcestershire sauce and cook an additional few minutes. Put cooked meat into a medium bowl and toss with crumbled bacon. Fill each mini crust with tomato sauce, about a spoon full in each cup. Not enough to make the crust soggy. Top with parmesan cheese and then fill with the toppings and top with mozzarella cheese. Place back in the oven just to melt the cheese.

My tips: My crusts puffed up instead of spreading around the cup, so about 3/4 through the cooking time, I took them out and used a spoon to mash them back into cup form. Then placed them back in the oven to finish cooking. Also, be sure to spray your pan with cooking spray and use a large spoon to remove the mini pizzas. They come out great!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Getting Creative

I picked up a snack while out shopping the other day called New York Style Focaccia Sticks. I thought they would be great, but they were a little hard and crunchy for my taste. I guess I'm just more of a chip person. I didn't want to just trash the bag, so I decided to smash them up and use them to bread chicken fingers. I am all about getting creative and turning something you don't like into something you do like. This way I wasn't wasting food or money. :) These sticks had a great flavor, after all, just not a good texture. I bought the Quattro Formaggio flavor, and turned them into Parmesan Chicken Tenders. And for those of you with weight loss New Year's aspirations, these are baked, not fried.

Parmesan Chicken Fingers
Source: Me

1 cup crushed New York Style Focaccia Sticks, Quattro Formaggio flavor
1/2 cup bred crumbs
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1 tbsp italian herb seasoning blend
1/2 cup parmesan salad dressing (you could also use ranch)
1 tbsp chili paste
6 chicken tenders

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Place a cooling rack on top of a rimmed cookie sheet. Mix the salad dressing and chili paste in a medium sized bowl. Mix the other remaining ingredients (other than chicken) in another medium bowl. Dip the chicken in the dressing mix and then in the breading mix. Place the chicken strips on the cooling rack/cookie sheet. Using the cooling rack keeps the underside of the chicken fingers from being mushy. Bake for about 40 minutes or until browned outside and all the pink is gone from the chicken.

Stepping Out of the Box

Well, it is probably not out of the box for most people, but for me it definitely is. I saw a recipe in Rachel Ray's magazine and normally I would just keep going because it wasn't something I would normally make. But it looked good, and I've been trying to branch out and try new things. As you know, I don't really like vegetables. I am learning to like them in different dishes, as long as the pieces aren't big. ;) This dish required you to make a tomato bread salad. I'm not usually a big fan of tomatoes or bread salads. I am a big fan of steak though, which was the main ingredient. Plus RR's picture in the magazine made this dish look mouth watering. I'm not sure if my picture lives up to the original, but hopefully it gives you an idea of what my plate looked like. :) Overall, the consensus was that we liked the dish, but it doesn't rank on our favorites list.

Grilled Garlic Skirt Steak with Bread Salad
Source: Rachel Ray, my additions/changes in italics

3 cloves garlic, smashed (I pressed the garlic to get more flavor out of it)
1/4 cup plus 2 tbsp olive oil
Salt and Black Pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
3 large tomatoes, cored (I just used canned fire roasted tomatoes)
2 pounds skirt steak (I used some sandwich steak I got on sale at my local grocery)
2 kaiser rolls, split (I just used regular sandwich bread)
1/2 tsp fresh rosemary leaves, chopped (I used dried basil because I like basil better and I didn't have any fresh)

Preheat grill to medium high. In a small bowl, stir together garlic, olive oil, cayenne pepper, and salt and pepper to taste. Brush tomatoes with some of the garlic oil. Grill, turning once, lightly charred, about 12 minutes, transfer to a plate. (I of course skipped this step because I used the canned tomatoes) Meanwhile brush the steak and bread with garlic oil. Grill the bread, turning occasionally. Grill the steak. Coarsely chop the rolls and tomatoes and toss in a medium bowl. Add the rosemary and season with salt and pepper. Slice the steak and top with bread salad.